In the news...

June 26, 2013

U.S. senators seek cost cuts for F-35 fighter jet

Bradley Klapper Associated Press
Associated Press

Senators sought cost-cutting opportunities June 19 in the Pentagon’s $400 billion program for the next-generation F-35, a fighter jet with a troubled testing record that military leaders said America couldn’t afford not to build.

Chairing the hearing, Sen. Dick Durbin lamented that the F-35 already has cost taxpayers billions more than what Congress signed up for more than a decade ago. The Democrat asked military leaders to justify costs that have soared more than 70 percent and estimates that the entire program could exceed $1 trillion over 50 years.

The Joint Strike Fighter program has had more than its share of problems over the last decade,î Durbin said. ìFrankly, its history reads like a textbook on how not to run a major acquisition effort.

The F-35 is the Pentagon’s most expensive weapons program, and it has been troubled by schedule delays and cost overruns. The developer, Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co., is building different versions for the Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps to replace Cold War-era aircraft such as the Air Force F-16 fighter, the Navy’s F/A-18 Hornet and the Marines’ EA-6B Prowler and AV-8B Harrier. International partners, including Britain, also are in line to buy F-35s.

Costs vary by the features in each model of the plane, but can reach $169 million per unit. An F/A-18 Super Hornet can cost half that much.
President Barack Obama’s budget request for the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1 calls for spending $8.7 billion to develop, test and buy 29 aircraft. In total, the Pentagon envisions purchasing more than 2,400 F-35s.

Leaders of the U.S. military’s different branches stressed that costs were now decreasing.

Pentagon acquisitions chief Frank Kendall said that with the plane 90 percent developed and testing almost half-done, officials were still focusing on creating a more stable design that would help bring production costs down.

ìIndications are that this time these efforts are succeeding, but we still have a lot of work left to do,î he told a Senate appropriations subcommittee. Kendall, who once criticized the decision to produce the F-35 ahead of its testing as ìacquisition malpractice,î said stopping production while all problems were worked through would have resulted in significant further costs and disruption.

Asked by Durbin whether the program was now ìtoo big to failî or ìtoo big to cancel, Kendall said no program enjoyed such status.

Gen. Mark Welsh, Air Force chief of staff, said his service could not afford not to build the plane if the U.S. is to maintain the air superiority it has enjoyed since World War II and prepare for emerging global threats.

Adm. Jonathan Greenert of the Navy, whose F-35s will be made to take off from the short runways on aircraft carriers, said software and other costs could still pose problems for the program.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

Headlines September 2, 2014

News: Debris yields clues that pilot never ejected - When investigators were finally able to safely enter the crash site of an F-15C “Eagle” fighter jet on the afternoon of Aug. 27, they made a grim discovery that concluded more than 30 hours of searching – the pilot never managed to eject from the aircraft.  ...
 
 

News Briefs September 2, 2014

Pentagon: Iraq operations cost $560 million so far U.S. military operations in Iraq, including airstrikes and surveillance flights, have cost about $560 million since mid-June, the Pentagon said Aug. 29. Rear Adm. John Kirby, the Pentagon press secretary, said the average daily cost has been $7.5 million. He said it began at a much lower...
 
 

National Guard identifies fallen F-15C aviator

BARNES AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Mass. – Massachusetts National Guard officials identified the pilot of an F-15C Eagle jet that crashed in Virginia as Air Force Lt. Col. Morris “Moose” Fontenot Jr. The veteran aviator was killed Aug. 27 when his aircraft crashed in remote, mountainous terrain near Deerfield Valley. “We all continue to keep...
 

 

Headlines August 28, 2014

News: After F-15 jet crash in Virginia, rescue helicopters search for pilot - Helicopters are searching for an Air National Guard pilot after his F-15 jet crashed in the mountains of Virginia this morning, military officials said.   Business: U.S. Air Force 3DELRR contract expected soon - The U.S. Air Force could award the contract for its...
 
 

News Briefs August 28, 2014

Russian directing new offensive in Ukraine The Obama administration believes Russia is leading a new military counteroffensive in Ukraine. U.S. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki says Russia has sent additional columns of tanks and armored vehicles into its neighbor’s territory. She says the incursions suggest a ìRussian-directed counteroffensive is likely underway in the contested e...
 
 

F-15C crashes in mountains of Virginia

An Air Force jet based in Massachusetts crashed in the mountains of western Virginia Aug. 27, shaking the ground and frightening residents, and officials said the pilot’s status was unknown. No injuries were reported on the ground, but authorities were still trying to reach the crash site ó located through its heavy smoke coming from...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>